The support and fundraising that has happened on my behalf has touched my heart and has made alternative cancer treatment a possibility for me. Donations continue to be my primary funding for healthy food, supplements, living expenses and medical bills. If you feel moved to give to my Health and Wellness Fund, please follow the Paypal "Donate" button below. To avoid Paypal's 3% fee, checks or cash can be sent to Zachariah Walker, 1003 Chipeta Ave, Grand Junction, CO 81501. Blessings!
*CRITICAL ANGELES HOSPITAL VISIT: CURRENT ESTIMATED COST = $25,000. AHHH! PLUS UNEXPECTED CRISIS CONTROL AND 4 DAYS IN ICU*
Sunday, June 10, 2012
How are You Doing...?
Started June 5th:
Yesterday, my pink-haired loved-one asked, after a nice conversation and catch up, “How are you doing… emotionally?” A pretty heart-felt question for a 19 year-old. Of course, I’ve come to expect that from Danielle who I’ve watched grow up since first meeting her as a reserved sixth grader. She’s always been ahead of her peers in awareness and intelligence, and on so many levels just simply ahead of the human curve, young and old. I sat in silence for a moment considering the question, considering my reflection… (I had risen that morning to look in the mirror, peering into my own eyes to distinguish some recognition. The mirror, that’s when I question who I am, what is and has happened to me. Amazing how engrained the reflection becomes and once changed how confusing it can be. I thought I knew those eyes so well, maybe I have forgotten how long it’s been since I’ve really looked into them. What are THEY really saying? There in lies the answer to the question.)
I commented on truly how well I’ve been. Having settled into some knowns here at Angeles I have felt content with my decision to be here. Christopher and I have been more light-hearted and full of laughter on a more consistent basis than we have been in a long time, certainly since some time before this ordeal began. There is really a heightened sense of enthusiasm and appreciation. I have felt this time of being “stuck” in the hospital as a retreat, an opportunity to truly focus on personal healing. No schedules, no distractions, no to-dos, other than treatment. And the treatment is not anxiety-laden like chemotherapy. I’m not worried about how I might suffer and I’m not fixated on how to prevent it. And I’m not sitting with the reality that no matter how hard I try to holistically support the chemo treatment, I WILL SUFFER. There will be no gnarled sausage-sized blood clots to faintly flush down the toilet after sitting in an ozonated sauna for a week and a half. There is peace in that truth.
“How are you doing… emotionally?” is a fair question for everyone directly and indirectly connected to my situation. The circumstances surrounding cancer stirs up deep wounds for so many who have witness and experienced it before. I see it happening all around me. The bigger question of mortality brings up the utmost fears, especially in a culture that has not coped well with its reality for centuries. A culture that has not accepted it as a natural part of life. I have mentioned to many friends, when considering the fact that I could be dead and gone in a matter of months, that I feel like I am handling it better than just about everyone else. I do have some experience after all. I’ve faced my mortality square in the face twice before, at age 13 and 29. And, not in just a moment of time where the possibility of death flashes before your eyes. I have sat with it day after day after day, at times wishing for its arrival. So, while the prospect of departing is not appealing, it certainly is far from terrifying. I have found enough understanding in my life experience to, at least theoretically, have some peace with the notion. However, that being said, I have also felt confident that this is not my time to go. Ironically, since the day my bone marrow biopsy, following the second round of chemo, reported a still active cancer, I have had more confidence in this belief. I have spent little time pondering the possibility of death since then.
I have recognized over the years my habit of portraying the best, despite my circumstances. Optimism certainly is a noble quality. It’s a key ingredient to living with happiness, and, I believe, to surviving dire situations. So, I continue to do my best to live with optimism, but this is not to say it is unyielding. And here, the matters of emotions, real and true, come to a head. The weekend before departing for Mexico I was offered the opportunity to face my own ugliness and anger. After an empowering gathering and meditation with friends I stood on the back porch of the house with Larkin and Chris processing the experience, and naturally the bigger experience. The details of the discussion are unimportant, however, their concerns, the expressions of their experiences in that moment, though supportive in nature, were deflating to me. I felt the wind leave my sails and seeds of doubt plant in my mind. After days of feeling empowered and positive I felt an energetic shift within my being. I began to stew, I remember brushing my teeth feeling resentment rise within me. I woke irritated and instigated a relieving debrief with Larkin. It was short-lived however. Just hours later I discovered that someone, for no apparent reason, had busted the window out of my van. I absorbed the scene and imagined busting faces and an intensity was ignited within me. Anger began to well up: about my van, about my stolen credit card, about our conversation… of course, those were the surface agendas. I spiraled into the storm cloud of my mind for the rest of the day.
In retrospect, I know the anger was about a lot more. It was about a lot more than a cancer diagnosis and a lifetime of digestive issues. It was about a lot more than a fucked up medical system that only offers destructive and torturous therapies based only on pharmaceutical treatments. It was about a lot more than the state of medical debt I’ve been in for a good portion of my life. It was about all the wrongs of the world that I have witnessed since the beginning. While in the storm cloud, I observed myself project my anger on those closest to me. This natural phenomenon, that we are all guilty of, is the saddest part of the emotional experience. We suffer, and blame, and pull those who care about us the most into our story and likely create a bigger drama out of it. Like in our allopathic medical system, the root causes of our symptoms are ignored while we tear off the scabs of our wounds and medicate with coping mechanisms. It’s the model we’ve been taught, or more accurately, it’s about the model we have not been taught.
My dear Larkin, being the forefront witness to my experience, naturally had her own experience. I watched her take on the responsibility of my mood shift and simmer in her own guilt. Clearly in my eyes, it was not her fault and not her responsibility. My emotional reaction to the original conversation was about me. It was about how I let the experience of others, even my most loved ones, effect me. And more importantly, it was about how this surface ripple stirred up the deeper emotions within me. The same can be said for her and her experience. The same can be said for all of us. From the limited wisdom I have garnered in this young life of mine I will say that our emotional experience, at its source, is based on our feelings and the relationship we have with ourselves. It’s the scariest thing to face. It is what we see in our own eyes when we truly look into their depths.
Nurturing this relationship is a lifelong process. It is the essence of our spiritual growth. It is the root of all our healing. I would even venture to say it is our purpose, our path of personal evolution. Yesterday, while in the midst of this writing I casually opened the front of my current book Embrace, Release, Heal written by another cancer survivor, my friend Leigh Fortson. The passage I glanced at was so appropriate for my thoughts: “On an emotional level, healing means releasing what tethers us to our sense of separateness, of being wronged, superior, inferior, lacking, and so on. It means giving up our habits of resistance and ‘against-ness,’ whether they are being directed toward our spouses, our bosses, our children, our parents, our friends, the government, corporations, or most especially, toward life, ourselves, or God.”So, Danielle, to answer your question, I think I’m doing pretty damn good emotionally. I’ve allowed myself to cry when I need to cry. I spent every morning the first week I was in the hospital emptying my reservoir of tears to prepare for the day. And, there have been many tears since. At those times I’ve felt strong I’ve been able to offer support to those close to me. The anger has come up, and though it didn’t feel good, I experienced it and allowed it to teach me. It showed me the work I have yet to do because, ya, I’m angry at corporations and the FDA and pharmaceutical companies and politicians and Haliburton and… The important thing I noticed was, though I projected my anger towards loved ones in my mind, I recognized it before fueling drama and instead instigated healthy and nurturing conversations. My days have also been filled with genuine laughter, love and appreciation. I have spilt more tears of gratitude for the kindness and support I’ve received than I’ve shed to sadness around my circumstances. Acceptance has been part of my mantra. I have accepted this challenge, I have accepted my role in the greater mystery, and I have accepted, to the best of my knowing, whatever the outcome will be. And, I am confident in my ability to heal and overcome this because of one most important thing. Though I still don’t recognize my bald self at a glance, when I look in the mirror and gaze into my own eyes I like who I see. I feel empowered, I feel gratitude, I feel love. My ongoing mantra is working. “I am passionate and courageous. I am happy, healthy, strong and whole. I live fully aligned with my Highest Self with ease, grace and acceptance. I am loved, I love, I AM Love.” These are the things I HAVE TO BELIEVE. This belief is my practice. It is my religion. It is my healing. It is my salvation.